Lyn takes Aldrich on a climbing expedition. It's kind of a mild disaster.
Location: Rocky Jungle - Argentum Bay
Related Scenes: None
Scene Number: 328
Lyn finished moving in to the housing that was set up for the Timberwolves early in the day, then went looking for Aldrich, carrying a rucksack of climbing gear, newly returned to her from the Vanguard. She's in khaki shorts and a tank top, clearly bought in the marketplace as it has Argentum Bay scrawled on it with palm trees and sand and surf across it.
When she does find him, it's a few moments of urging to take him out for a small surprise. She's rented a jeep, and driven it to the place that she and Cate had visited last leave on Scorpia, a rocky area good for climbing, with lots of hand and foot holds for beginners. She parks, and grins over at the Chaplain. "Thought you might want to learn how to climb, since we seem to get stuck doing that a lot lately."
It doesn't take much urging to convince Aldrich to go out, even if he /did/ promise that he would get some rest... But it's Lyn! Lyn is restful! Really! ...Ahem. Anyway, he's wearing his uniform, but he's dressed it down for shore leave by rolled up the legs into faux shorts, and shucking the fatigue shirt in favor of a plain white tank-style undershirt. He's still wearing his boots though, because climbing, duh. He's a little quiet on the drive, but once they arrive, he shoots her a crooked little grin. "Why not? You never know what will come in handy..." Which is probably Al-speak for 'Whatever Lyn wants to do, I'm there.'
"Also, it's a lot of fun, besides being a useful skill for a marine," Lyn points out with a bright smile. She climbs out of the Jeep and digs in the rucksack for gear, passing some to him, along with a pair of sunglasses, spray sunblock, and a billed hat to keep him from burning to a crisp. Then she puts on her harness and gear in slow motion to teach him how.
She looks him up and down as she adjusts straps and buckles for him to make sure they're correct. "You really need some civilian clothes, Al. You're going to wreck your off duties wearing them on shore leave. They're not meant for partying, or the beach." She grins.
Aldrich looks a little mystified by all the gear Lyn pulls out of her bag, up to and including the hat, etc. He sets the hat on his head with a little chuckle, and observes, "You really do think of everything, don't you?" Once the harness is in place, he plucks at a strap, and answers her comment. "Typically I don't do much partying on shore leave. I usually leave when it seems like I'm 'downing' people's 'chill'." Yeah, those words don't mean what you think they mean, Al. He grins a little, showing he may be very well aware of that, and puts on the sunglasses. "Do I look cool, yet?"
"You look ruggedly handsome," Lyn replies with a grin and a little stroke of a finger across a smear of sunblock on his cheek. She begins the lesson with explaining the equipment she'll be using to set their climbing route. "These are spring-loaded cams. The four curved bits get shoved into a crack or wedge in a rock, then are triggered to expand, so they won't come out until you reset them. This gives you something to clip your lines to."
She holds a sling and a carabiner. "These are what you clip into the cam to secure your line, so if you slip, you won't fall further than that point. I'll be lead climbing, and you'll be my belayer. Which means I'll setting the cams ahead of us, and fairly close together, to make our anchors, so you don't have to worry about falling. Your job is to keep the slack on the rope above you, and keep your hand on the brake except when you're climbing." The break and the ropes and slack etc all get explained before Lyn clips a few pouches of cams, slings, and carabiners to her harness.
Aldrich listens to all of these explanations, occasionally getting a furrow-browed or glaze-eyed look. He seems to be mostly taking it all in, anyway, and gives a bit of a nod when it seems like she's finished. "Gotcha. Seems pretty straightforward, I guess. What do you do if you can't find a crack to put the cam into?"
"I make one of my own," Lyn gestures to her lonely climbing axe, the one that wasn't left imbedded in the chest of a nanny bot on Picon. "It's used for making holds and to reach ones otherwise too far for me." She kisses Aldrich's cheek then steps up to the base of the rocky cliff face. It's about 75 feet to the top. Not a long climb for her.
Every three feet or so, she sets one of the cams and makes an anchor for them. When she has a few done, she begins guiding Aldrich up behind him, directing him to hand and footholds. It's kind of an interesting bit of planning and puzzle solving, finding your way up the face of this rather small cliff. It's definitely for beginners, as there are no overhangs, and plenty of grips. He also has a lovely view of her backside for the climb.
Aldrich smiles goopily (yes, that is the only adverb that suits) at the kiss on the cheek, and does whatever he's told to do. He seems a little wary once he starts climbing, but things seem to go well at first. He starts sweating somewhere along the way, and by the time they reach the halfway point, he's sweating pretty profusely, and very silent as he focuses intently on the task at hand. Then, around 20 feet from the top, he just sort of...stops. "Lyn." His voice sounds pretty strained. "Lyn, how do I go back?"
"You're almost there, Al, just a little more and I can pull you up, I promise," Lyn says from above. She keeps the slack tight on the line, to help him feel more secure, as she nears the top herself. "There is a good foothold about 4 inches above your right foot, step into that, just like climbing a ladder." She advises. Then she points out more for him. She just needs to go a couple feet herself to get to the top.
Aldrich closes his eyes, and rests his forehead against the rock. He very carefully, awkwardly, steps up with his right food and finds the foothold, but then he stops there again. "Lyn..." he starts, but then grimly soldiers on, to another foothold, another hand hold, and then he freezes again. "Lyn, does... does it feel like it's shifting to you?" he calls up.
Lyn clears the top in due time, a climb that she likely would have made without the safety gear in a few minutes easily. Dry cliffs in sun are much more friendly to scaling than a volcano covered in ice during snow flurries. Once up there, she leans over on her belly to guide Aldrich the rest of the way from above. "It's not shifting, no, you're a thousand percent secure, I promise. When was the last time you slept, or ate?" she asks. She urges him to keep going, smiling down at him, trying not to show her concern. "Almost there."
When he's near enough, she reaches a hand down to pull him up over the edge and sits him down with his back to the climb he just made, and hands him a bottle of water from where it was clipped to her belt. "Congratulations, Al, you just scaled a cliff."
Aldrich doesn't say anything more about the cliff shifting. He's got the look that he sometimes gets on a mission. That 'just survive this and worry about the rest later' look. When she finally pulls him up over the top, he scrambles away from the edge, looking pale and grim faced. He looks to Lyn for a moment like she were a stranger, a flash of dread, and then he replaces the expression with a tight smile. "Okay. If you say so."
Lyn looks him over in concern. Then she stands him up, and takes him by the shoulders and turns him around. "This is what I wanted to show you." The view. The view is something magical. The jungle sliding below them down to a much more secluded beach along the coast. Gentle waves break fairly far out from the shore, leaving pure, clear cyan water along the pristine sand. The bottom is visible for a hundred yards out. (https://media-cdn.tripadvisor.com/media/photo-s/01/54/4e/3c/view-from-cliff-top-of.jpg)
Aldrich lets her stand him up, and he turns around to look out as instructed. He should probably be ooh'ing and ah'ing right about now, but instead he just sort of grabs Lyn's arm, holding her (maybe a little too) tightly. "Mmmhm. That's nice," he says, distantly. He does not /look/ like he thinks it's nice.
Lyn grimaces and moves him back from the edge to sit him down again. She pulls a power bar from a pouch and hands it over. "I knew I should have asked if you were ok with heights first. I'm such an idiot," she murmurs, her face red, looking mortified that she put him through this.
Aldrich steps back from the edge, still not looking too relieved. He takes the power bar mechanically, and looks back to her, still with a distracted sort of expression. "What? No, I'm fine with..." Then he thinks twice, and shakes his head. "Oh. Right. Yes, heights. That's-- Yes, that's the problem." He just holds the power bar, and smiles tightly. "Sorry."
Lyn arches a brow. "That doesn't sound like the truth, Al," she notes, pulling out another bar for herself, and a second bottled water.
"I'm fine," Aldrich snaps, and only after seems to realize that it might have been a little harsh. He clears his throat a little and passes a slightly squashed power bar back to Lyn, taking instead a bottle of water. He very carefully does not look toward the edge and the view. "Sorry, I'm just tired."
"Not sleeping?" she asks. Lyn flinched a little when he snapped, just a reflex after being hollered at so much by Jonas, most likely. She moves to the edge herself, sitting on it, looking out at the beach down there as she eats a few bites and drinks some water.
Aldrich stays put where he is, still not looking toward the edge. He drinks some water, and replies, "Yeah. Just haven't felt well, lately, that's all." He sneaks a glance toward the edge and where Lyn is sitting, and seems to relax marginally.
"Not feeling well? What's wrong, Al?" Lyn asks, looking over her shoulder at him, brow furrowed. She's clearly worried. Whether that she did something wrong or that he might actually be sick isn't clear.
Aldrich shakes his head a little, and smiles his tight, polite-conversation smile. "I'm fine," he claims. "I should have rested, that's all." Then he lets the smile soften a little, and seems pretty genuine as he adds, "I just... enjoy being with you. And you seemed excited..."
Lyn doesn't look convinced at his response. She knows that polite tone. "Yeah, I just wanted to share something I enjoy with you. And I thought maybe you'd like the view. There's a trail back down the other side, leads to that beach. But if you're not feeling well, we can just go back so you can get some rest?"
Aldrich looks out over the view, some sort of melancholy passing over his expression. "Well, it really is a nice view..." he offers, quietly. He has a drink of his water, then clears his throat. "I'm fine, now. Feeling much better. Why don't we take the trail down to your beach? We can rest there just as easily as we can back at the house. Probably more easily, actually." He grins, crookedly. "Since they're cramming us in like sardines."
"In a little bit. You need to get some water and salt back into you before we go anywhere," Lyn says softly.
Aldrich's momentary rally fades a bit when she turns down the idea, and he settles back to drink his water in awkward silence. After a bit, he offers a quiet, "Sorry."
"Don't be. Just 10 minutes up here, that's all. Just to make sure your muscles have recovered from the climb," Lyn says, as if it's just about resting. She keeps looking out at the beach though, worried and disappointed. She thought this would be super romantic. It's been kind of a disaster instead. She is so BAD at this relationship stuff.
Aldrich nods a little, but he still looks pretty sorry. He looks back to the ground and loses himself in thoughts. Judging by the cloud hanging over him, his thoughts aren't any happier than Lyn's.
When the ten minutes pass, Lyn gets up and moves towards the trail, beckoning him along. She'll come back for the gear embedded in the cliff another time. It's not likely anyone else would find it before she can return for it. The way is winding, but not steep or dangerous on the other side, and the beach is as pretty up close as it looked from above.
Aldrich follows Lyn down the trail, still looking a little like a puppy who knows he's done something wrong. Probably because he does. But he's also terrible at fixing things, so his solution is to meekly follow Lyn down, wherever she wants to lead.
Lyn moves to the beach, pulling off her boots and socks, and then stepping out of her shorts and tank. She has a bathing suit on beneath it, a modest one piece at least so he won't have to feel weird about it. Then she moves to step into the water. The bigger waves on the bay were too intimidating for her to go past her knees last leave, but it's way calmer here on the leeward side. "Coming?" she asks.
Aldrich was not prepared for that, but he rolls with it. He's already ruined one of Lyn's plans for the day, and he's apparently determined not to ruin the next one. He kicks off his boots and socks, but apparently plans to just go in wearing his clothes. "Sure..." He starts out into the calmish water after Lyn, and adds, "I /can/ swim, at least."
Lyn swims out a ways, since it's plenty shallow. She dunks her head to wet her hair and just cool off after the climb. "You're going to ruin your uniform," she points out with a smile."
Aldrich gives Lyn an odd look at that. "If it can survive Picon, I think it can survive a dip in the ocean," he points out. "If not, then they can issue me another one. It's war. Uniforms get ruined everyday." He sinks into the water with a sigh, and just sort of enjoys the slightly weightless feeling of being submerged.
Lyn moves over near him and sits beside him in the water leaning back on her hands and just enjoying it. "I could get used to this. Not the circus on the bay, this nice quiet spot. It's weird, I feel like I'm cheating on my home planet, by enjoying another one."
Aldrich glances aside at Lyn with an odd look, and then gives a slow, crooked grin. "Maybe you /would/ fit in on Gemenon," he teases, gently, then leans his head back into the water, half-floating as he looks up at the sky. "The gods made all the planets different for a reason. And then they gave us brains to build spaceships to go visit them. I think we're /meant/ to enjoy what each has to offer."
Lyn hms softly. "That makes sense. But I do miss Aquaria. I think maybe I've built it up in my brain, from good memories only, because it was taken from me. I know Thula especially was harsh and unforgiving, but it was also breathtaking, and challenging." She ponders. "Everyone stationed there was close, because we were a small group and socked in by weather a lot of the time. So it was very much like an extended family. I think that's what I miss."
Aldrich looks a little stricken as she speaks, blinking hard as he stares up at the sky. "I never had the chance to visit Aquaria..." he offers, slowly. "But I know what homesickness feels like. I'm sorry I can't fix it for you."
"If there were a cure for it, the maker would be rich," Lyn points out with a small smile. "I do like the company I have here though," she adds, looking up at the clear sky and feeling the sun on her face. "We can't stay here too much longer. We have a bit of a walk back to the Jeep, and I don't want to drive on jungle roads in the dark."
Aldrich chuckles faintly. "If there were a cure, I wouldn't accept it," he admits. He doesn't try to explain why, but reaches over to brush her arm under the water. "Do you hate me for ruining your romantic climbing date?" he asks, suddenly.
"No, of course not. Because I know you'll make it up to me," Lyn points out, with a grin. "You will, right?" she asks.
Aldrich gives a grin back, but it has that slightly frazzled look of a person who doesn't /quite/ know what's expected. It's that 'kid who didn't study for the exam' look. "I want to," he confirms, then offers a tentative, "Maybe...dinner? Or... something you can pick? Whatever you want."
"Dinner would be nice. But you have to wear something other than your uniform. Deal?" Lyn offers as she gets up to move to a rock on shore where they can dry off before hiking back.
Aldrich looks a little alarmed by that, but he tries to hide it behind a crooked smile. "Ah... All right. Deal." And he leaves it at that, trailing behind and dripping water the whole way.